A beast to look at, and a beast on the streets, the petrol-automatic version of this SUV is worth every penny.
MG Hector, the first car from the British brand MG (Morris Garages) Motor, has been such a great success story since its launch in India in July, that it had to stop bookings to ensure vehicles could be delivered to customers on time. Then, for the festive season, bookings were reopened and production was ramped up.
I took the petrol-automatic variant of the MG Hector for a drive to find out what it promises and if it is worth the price. The car powered by a 143hp, 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine that is mated to a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT). This engine-gearbox combination is available in the top two variants priced at Rs 15.28 lakh (Smart) and Rs 16.78 lakh (Sharp).
The MG Hector is indeed a head-turner and it certainly turned heads every time and everywhere I stopped for photos. The nose has lots of interesting detailing and follows the current trend where the headlight cluster is placed down at bumper level with the LED DRLs sitting above where the lights should typically be. The blade-like DRLs accentuate the size of the grille and look great when illuminated. There is a good dose of chrome, used liberally around the grille, and C-shaped headlight housings.
Overall, the appearance of the Hector is that of a rich, upmarket-looking vehicle, dripping with chrome and one that certainly stands out from the crowd.
Inside the Hector is a spacious cabin. The dashboard has a clean design and also houses the massive 10.4-inch touchscreen. In the DCT variant, you get an electronic parking brake instead of a manual handbrake, and that has freed up a lot of space. You also get an auto-hold function, which engages the parking brake when you come to a stop and disengages when you get back on the throttle.
There is plenty that is cool about the vehicle: whether the overall use of leather and soft-touch materials, or the fit and finish. The front seats at a good height. The driver’s seat offers six-way electric adjustment and the steering too can be adjusted for rake and reach, which means finding your perfect driving position is very easy. The backseat has plenty of legroom and headroom, seating three passengers easily with comfort with a reclinable backrest, rear air-con vents, fast charging socket, and a giant panoramic sunroof. At 587 litres, it has the biggest boot in its segment.
The Hector’s voice command, activated by saying “Hello MG”, allows you to operate the sunroof, windows and air-con, apart from infotainment functions. In terms of safety, the top-end Sharp variant gets features like six airbags, LED headlamps with LED DRLs, front/rear parking sensors with 360° camera, electronic stability program (ESP), traction control system (TCS), ABS with EBD and brake assist, all-wheel disc brakes, and Isofix child-seat anchors.
The Drive Experience
The Hector’s produces 143hp and 250Nm of torque. When driving at low speeds, you do hear the engine inside the cabin. But the moment you take your foot off the brake pedal, the car creeps forward in a smooth manner, thanks to the dual-clutch auto, giving you a premium experience. The engine speed responses are quite good and but it takes a few seconds to build up speed. The 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is not one of the quickest-shifting units. Although the shift is quite smooth, when you demand sudden power on highways, it is sometimes slow to react. However, in city roads, the vehicle is smooth and comfortable to drive. The robust Hector unfortunately gave me a fuel efficiency of fewer than 9.5kmpl on the highway while cruising at over 100kmph.
The Hector’s soft suspension absorbs small undulations on the roads quite well, even sharp potholes. Its all-wheel disc brakes do a good job of bringing this heavy SUV to a stop without a hitch.
Should I buy it?
Priced between Rs 15.28 lakh and Rs 16.78 lakh, MG has got the recipe right with the Hector. The SUV offers space, comfort, road presence, and a premium feel. And the price gives it a huge value-for-money advantage over its competitors. Besides, the buyer also gets a 5-year/unlimited km standard warranty and roadside assistance, along with different maintenance plans. But one major rival is Kia Seltos and it is neck-to-neck in some aspects with Hector. But overall it is definitely worth the price.